The Diocese of Virginia reports today that Bishop Peter James Lee recalled the Rev'd Lauren Stanley from her missionary position in the Diocese of Renk in the Sudan following a request from the Archbishop of the Sudan for her removal last March.
The Diocese in an official statement released today stated that the Archbishop of Sudan, the Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Deng Bul Yak, requested that she be removed from her position after her public comments at the most recent Annual Council of the Diocese of Virginia "were deemed offensive to partners of the Diocese in the Episcopal Church of Sudan."
Bishop Lee complied and ordered Lauren Stanley in March to return to Virginia.
Last January a resolution came came before the Annual Council that opened the door to the blessing of same sex unions in the Diocese of Virginia. It included an amendment that was moved from the floor stating that the Annual Council "affirms the inherent integrity of and blessedness of committed Christian relationships ..."
Russ Randel, a long-time advocate for overseas mission in the southern Sudan, rose in opposition to the amendment, warning that such an amendment would do irreparable harm to the long-standing mission relationship between the Diocese of Renk and the Diocese of Virginia.
Lauren Stanley defended the amendment, saying that that "holy love" and "blessedness" goes together. She told the council that it would not be a problem for the Sudan, saying that the people don't care. The amendment passed and the resolution was adopted.
Until the request by the Archbishop of the Sudan for her removal, Lauren Stanley was an appointed missionary of the Episcopal Church and a lecturer at the Renk Theological College, teaching theology, liturgy, and English and served as a chaplain to the students. She is now "seeking a new mission placement for which she has the support of the bishops," the Diocese of Virginia statement said. The diocese announced that she plans to go on a speaking tour to talk about her experiences.
In addition, she will be attending this summer's General Convention as a staff member of the Diocese of Virginia's advocacy publication, The Center Aisle.